Lead vocalist Aaron Ross of The Boom Booms has of late seen more of Hawaii than most. So has the rest of the band.
The Vancouver indie soul band had a series of gigs on the islands two weeks ago and thanks to some good fortune they were invited back just last weekend to play another show at a health conference on longevity.
"We were playing in Maui two weeks ago and while we were in a music store renting a keyboard we ran into a guy in the lineup. We got talking and it turned out he was from Brazil and was putting on the event. He came to our show that night and then invited us to play," Ross says.
It didn't hurt that The Boom Booms already had a connection with Brazil, having made Boom Boom Brazil, a documentary about their adventures in that country during a tour in 2012.
Not every new Canadian band is able put out a movie, which The Boom Booms also used to highlight the negative environmental impact of the controversial Belo Monte Dam. They made it with the $75,000 they brought home after placing second in Vancouver's PEAK Performance Project.
"Our host in Maui was all about stopping the dam and fighting climate change, so we connected on that right away. It was a one-of-a-kind experience," Ross says.
Along with Ross, The Boom Booms are made up of Sean Ross on keyboard and vocals, Tom Van Deursen on guitar, Geordie Hart on bass, Richard Brinkman on drums, and Theo Vincent on percussion and drums. They've played together since 2008.
The Boom Booms are touring the Canadian festival circuit to support their album this summer. The first event will be a free performance in Whistler as part of the new Great Outdoors Festival (GO Fest) on Saturday, May 17, at the festival's main stage in Village Square at 9 p.m.
The band's new album, called Love is Overdue ("We call it that because the album was overdue. It had been a while," laughs Ross), is currently being mixed in Los Angeles. It was recorded in Vancouver and produced with Grammy-winner Chin Injeti, whose other projects have included work for Eminem, Dr. Dre, Pharrell Williams, Pink and Whistler favourite SonReal. The album will be released this summer.
"Our first album, Hot Rum!, and our EP... had a world beat sound with some reggae and some Latin influences. That was a product of writing those songs while being on the road in South America," Ross says.
"This one is more about music we've grown up with. It's soul and R&B, with a '90s feel to it."
Was it a case of getting back to early influences?
"It was just what we were feeling at the time, what we were listening to, what we were playing," he says.
Injeti was a pleasure to work with, Ross adds.
"We feel really lucky to have found in him more than just a producer, but also a friend and a mentor. He has tons of energy, tons of knowledge. He took us to school on our playing, so helped to bring the musicality of the group up. He know all that stuff inside out, '70s soul, Sade," says Ross. "Sade's sound we emulated on some songs."
The fact that The Boom Booms has been together and performing for six years brings a sharp sigh of incredulity from Ross.
"With The Boom Booms, I look back and the first three or four formative years were all about travelling and soaking in everything. It was about the adventure and experience, not necessarily the career," Ross says.
"We were laying the foundation. Love is Overdue is more of an album of a band maturing, and having a sound cultivated. Much more of a world-class record that's ready to start doing bigger tours."
All the way through their career, though, one thing that hasn't changed has been their commitment to using their music to connect with greater causes. Along with highlighting their concern about the Belo Monte Dam in Brazil, The Boom Booms have played annual block parties in Vancouver, raising funds for the St. James Music Academy and Up With Hope, among other non-profits.
"We've done it for five years in the alley behind my grandpa and mom's house at Venables and Nanaimo. It's always a fundraiser," Ross says.
This year, the band "went legal," as Ross called it. The block party will take place on July 5 in Stathcona Park, with the blessing of the City of Vancouver.
"It got big to the point of not being able to fit in the alley anymore. We're now going to host our very own music festival," he says.
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